Jermain Defoe’s return highlighted Wednesday’s training session at the Kia Training Ground.
Defoe didn’t participate in training with his teammates, as he continues to work his way back from a groin injury that sidelined the English star for a month.
Defoe did, however, participate in individual running drills, and the 31-year-old plans to increase his rehabilitation regime with an eye towards returning to full training on Monday.
“My groin feels good,” Defoe said. “I ran yesterday which was the second time [and] there was no reaction today which was important.”
“[I] rested today and did some work in the gym and I feel good. I’m happy.”
Defoe also commented on reports linking the former Tottenham striker to a transfer during the summer transfer window.
“For me it was something that was normal to be honest,” Defoe said. “In my career I’ve always been, especially when the transfer window is open, doesn’t matter what football club I’ve been at, there always seems to be speculation about my future. ‘Is he going to stay, is he going to go?’”
“For me it was like ‘here we go again.’ It was normal. I didn’t pay much attention to it because my main focus was trying to get fit.”
With just six games remaining Defoe is intent on helping the Reds make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. He sat down with Greg Vanney on Monday to talk about the team’s style.
“We spoke about his ideas and I was really impressed,” commented Defoe.
We’ve heard club leaders discuss how important the final six games are and Defoe echoed that sentiment on Wednesday.
“Every game is a Cup final now,” he said. “[These are] games that we have to win and it’s not going to be easy. I think if you want to achieve anything special there comes a moment like this where you know everyone has to stick together and you have to give everything.”
Though it’s extremely unlikely Defoe will play against Portland on Saturday, he’ll be among the thousands gathered at BMO Field to support TFC.
“I’ll be there supporting the boys and hopefully I’ll get back into the team and I’m able to play at a level that I know I can,” Defoe continued.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
So are we, Jermain. So are we.
Vanney on Portland
A win on Saturday pushes TFC closer to fifth in the East, but Greg Vanney knows the Timbers present a stern test.
“Portland have had a good run,” Vanney said, acknowledging the Timbers recent form which has seen them move into the final playoff spot in the West.
“They have a good team, clearly. They’re a good attacking team. I think what’s important for us is that we recognize what things make them a good team but we also understand what makes us a good team.”
Diego Valeri has put the Timbers on his back the last month, making a genuine claim for league MVP honours. Negating his influence on the match will be key for the Reds on Saturday.
Injury update on Collen Warner
Collen Warner was a participant in training on Wednesday, but the American midfielder remains questionable to return this weekend according to Vanney. Warner’s hamstring is still bothering him.
The news means the current midfield duo of Jonathan Osorio and Michael Bradley will likely stay in tact.
Bradley comments on fine
Michael Bradley knew what he was doing when he criticized referee David Ganter following Toronto’s controversial 1-1 draw in Chicago.
TFC’s midfield general was fined an undisclosed amount by MLS following his post match comments.
“I said my piece,” Bradley stated. “I said it because it’s what I felt at that time. Like I also said right away, you have to move on. There’s no time to dwell on mistakes, missed calls, games that are already over.”